Lily Shares Her Student Exchange Experience
I am currently on exchange for three months in Japan. For two weeks, I stayed in Tokyo, whilst attending Kanto Daiichi Highschool, and for the remaining ten weeks I am studying at Ueda Nishi Highschool located within the Nagano Prefecture.
So far, I’ve been having a wonderful experience, and have been non-stop busy spending time with my host families and learning Japanese language and culture. My trip began with the Kanichi Matsuri (Kanto Daiichi’s school festival), which gave me the opportunity to meet new people and practice the language, along with trying lots of new foods at the stalls. It was held at school, so it also helped me learn my way around. Kanto Daiichi is made up of 3 buildings, with the tallest being 7 stories high (fortunately, there was an elevator in the tallest building).
The school days in Japan feel very long compared to those in Australia. In Japan, the school day starts around 8:45am, and there are 6 periods with a 40-minute lunch break after the first three. School ends around 4:00pm after cleaning the classrooms and listening to notices for the following day in homeroom. This is then followed by club activities, such as sport, music, language, and traditional clubs. After these, I leave school at around 5:30pm to catch the train and bus, and I usually arrive home by 7:00pm.
Whilst staying in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to visit many iconic landmarks, such as Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, the Imperial Palace, Shibuya Scramble Crossing, the Meijing Shrine, and Harajuku’s Takeshita Street, along with many other shrines and temples. I also visited Disney Sea with the other exchange students, and it was lots of fun, although we did spend most of our time waiting in lines.
A highlight of Tokyo was visiting the Shinjuku Gyoen with my host family, which had many gardens, including a traditional Japanese section. The architecture was impressive, and it was very relaxing with sounds of water and fireflies. From the garden, the skyline of Tokyo was visible, which made a very scenic atmosphere.
Roughly a week ago, we left Tokyo to begin our stay in Nagano. Nagano is extremely beautiful, it is a mountainous rural area, and much quieter compared to Tokyo. At the moment, I am being hosted by Kanna, who was a short stay student at CCGS in March. They took me to the seaside town, Joetsu, to visit the aquarium and eat seafood, along with visiting the 1998 Winter Olympics Ski Track, where I was able to watch the athletes practise on the track.
Everyone has been extremely welcoming and helpful, especially as I learn my way around the school. We have just reached the four-week mark, meaning I’m one third of the way through my exchange experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can experience whilst studying abroad in Japan.
2023 CCGS Exchange Student